April 11, 2012, was a birthday I'll long remember. I was reading about Monet that day and how he would often paint eleven paintings in a day, just to capture the light. I was so inspired by this; I remember thinking that if he could do eleven, then surely I could commit to one.
For those of you who know me, I started out to become an artist. My life went in different directions from teaching to the White House to the family wine business and finally to my favorite job of homeschool mom. I recall that on that particular birthday, I was missing that art side of my life, and although art remained a hobby, something I would occasionally dabble in, it wasn't a priority.
This was the day things changed. I knew that God created me to create. I knew He gave me this desire; but as an introvert, to share my art? This was rare. I had no confidence. I never finished anything. It was never good enough.
I challenged myself to get over myself. To just do it. To paint, be done with it and then post in on Facebook for accountability...Ultimately to give it over to God and see what He would do. This was April 11, 20012. The goal was a year. It was a difficult year -and incredibly busy- but somehow I did it. I made a lot of bad art, but it gradually became not so bad. I painted at ridiculous hours of the night- because that's when I could carve out the time. I painted on the road and in hotel rooms... (Once using eyeshadow as I didn't have my paints!) I painted sick. I painted (often) in bed!
Something happened along the way. This practice became a habit. You know how runners will tell you that they just have to run? I never could quite get this... but maybe this is the same. I cannot sleep without painting. And even if I had worked on some major painting or project in the day- this finished painting Facebook posting practice had to be included in my routine; and as tempted as I may have been on a particularly hard day- to just skip it that one time-- I couldn't.
So here I am. 1000 paintings. It snuck up on me. I knew it was coming, but Christmas and kids home and all that goes with it... I truly didn't quite realize that today was the day. Somehow I figured this better be a good one- and then I felt almost paralyzed. Silly, I know, but I had no idea what to paint. I've been pretty wrapped up in my mouse paintings as of late getting ready for my trip to New York... but it needed to be something else. When I put the question out on Facebook, My friend Marie suggested re-doing the very first painting. She actually went back and found it! And yes, it was bad. But the thought behind it wasn't. I remember thinking at the time that it would be so cool to combine verses of poetry with paint. I liked the idea of hand lettering, but was so out of practice that I ended up typing and gluing in a very rudimentary mixed media style and then slapping on some paint. Well- here is the Mary Oliver Redux. Thanks for following along, for your continued love and support. Here's to the next 1000.